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Published: August 28th 2011
August 25th-Our morning began with the hotel breakfast. Our hopes were high for a new winner in the Hotel Breakfast Category, but the Park Inn Danube in Bratislava is still in the lead by a lot. The breakfast was good and then we headed out to meet our next tour. We signed up for a Castle and Jewish Quarter tour. We lucked out with a smart tour guide, Blanca, and a small tour (7 in total with Blanca). We met the group at the Charles Bridge and quickly got going. We headed over the bridge as Blanca explained some of the features of this 14th Century bridge. Every ten feet or so, there is a Saint Statue and there are "crap" vendors and street performers competing for your attention. We did stop by the statue of St.John, patron saint of the Czech people. St. John was launched from the bridge because he offended the king, and now people touch the depiction of this to 1.) Return to Prague, 2.) Good Health, 3.) a Secret Wish. On the Castle District side, we grabbed a tram and headed for the castle to catch the changing of the guard. After they marched in, we moved into the castle grounds and Blanca explained the history of the castle. While we were walking around, Blanca informed us about the many brides we were seeing. Apparently, there is a trend for Russian Brides to come to Prague to elope and then have their pictures taken in all of the old sites. Over our 3 day visit we saw about 15 couples. Seems like a perfect gig for Tara Polcaro and myself. St.Vitus Cathedral was the highlight of the Castle, because of the size. After wandering around the grounds, we made our way to a lookout in the middle of a grape vineyard, for a breathtaking view of the city. After a leisurely stroll, we hopped a tram and headed to the Jewish Quarter of Prague. Blanca explained the significance of the synagogues and showed us around. We then headed to the Old Town Square and then on to lunch with the group. (A side note... On our tour we had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people. John and Bridget were on their honeymoon from Australia. Irene and Allan were an eccentric couple from California. Irene provided the entertainment for the entire group. She was definitely a "glass half empty" type of person. She was a bit of a hypochonrite, who was full of complaints and worries, although very friendly and outgoing. Blanca did not cut her any slack, and ended up putting on a "Mutt and Jeff" Type show with her. Allan, her husband was hilarious, and able to laugh and joke with us. As an example, at lunch, we were in a restaurant that was downstairs. The power ended up going out while Irene was sorting the gobs of pills she had with her. She was very estatic to be able to use the flashlight that was in her purse. When the lights came back Allan commented that she brought far too much stuff with her. He had on us on the floor laughing, when he commented that today when he grabbed for toothpaste, he almost used Vagasil to brush his teeth. After lunch, we parted ways with the group, and wandered around the Old Town area. We found an international folk festival and I ended up purchasing some handmade christmas ornaments. The mama making them allowed me to snap a photo, as she made more eggs right before our eyes. We used Ricky to do a short walking tour, including the National Threater building that was completely Art Deco. Then we made our way down to the Dancing House, which is a building that looks like it has legs and is dancing. After that, we headed back to the Old Town Square for a concert in the St. Nicholas Church. The concert was nice and then we headed down to the Charles bridge for some night photography of the castle and surrounding area. On our way home, I grabbed a hamburger from a permanent street vendor, which was ok. Then a quick subway ride and we tucked into bed for the night.
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